I knew him from church. I was 16; he was older, and one day he walked up to me and asked if I’d like to go to the laser show with him. I don’t remember why I had to drive (I think his mom didn’t feel comfortable with him driving me in their open-aired vehicle), but I remember pulling down his driveway and feeling a little nervous as he got into my car.
But off we went. We spread out a blanket on the lawn of Stone Mountain and had a picnic over easy conversation. And it was easy. In fact, I have never been on a first date where the conversation flowed so easily. We talked and laughed until the light of day faded away and the giant lasers could be see on the side of the dark mountain. I’m sure mosquitos had their fill on our skin during that hot Georgia evening, but I don’t remember minding.
After the show was over, we stopped for ice cream and managed to stretch our date a little longer until it was time to return to our parents who were checking their clocks on their nightstands. He gave me the cd of Garth Brooks he had brought along for the ride since I mentioned he was the only country singer I could tolerate. And then he smiled and said, “I had a really good time.” “I did, too” I answered.
And I did.
The nervousness returned as I silently prayed that he wouldn’t kiss me (and he didn’t), and then I drove home.
I had a lot of fun with this young man, and I had no complaints about the date–he was polite, he paid, and we had meaningful conversation in the midst of fun–but I knew right then and there that I did not want to date him.
I didn’t have any feelings for him beyond friendship, and I didn’t want to lead him to believe that I felt otherwise. So as my over-analytical self is apt to do, I instantly began worrying over how to turn him down for another date. I knew he would ask for another–we had had a great time–and how does one tell another I had a wonderful time, probably the best I’ve ever had on a date, but I don’t want to go out with you again. When I think about you kissing me, I feel weird.
Luckily, I got grounded. I went to see the USA baseball team in the Olympics with my friend and her family, and even though I was with her family the whole time, my dad didn’t like that we came home from the Olympics late. Even though the Olympics are a rare sporting event to visit one’s city. Even though I rode with my friend and her parents and couldn’t come home until they came home. But I digress.
So when he called and asked if I’d like to go to the Olympics with him, I answered a little too perky “I’m actually grounded because of them.” “You’re grounded because of the Olympics?” he asked, clearly questioning my story.
And I briefly explained how an ill-fated trip to see Olympic baseball had me grounded for the week. I didn’t act like I was upset. I didn’t offer an alternative date for once my punishment was lifted. I simply said I couldn’t, and that was the end of the conversation.
He was hurt, and I’m sure he didn’t understand because I didn’t really understand, and then his hurt turned to anger. He never spoke to me again until a chance meeting in a parking lot where he mentioned that he thought all Christians were hypocrites.
A few years went by; we had gone our separate ways to college and met once again at our home church. He apologized for what he had said previously, and I forgave him. No hard feelings. And then, once again, he gave it another try, contacting me at school.
I thought I had been upfront and honest. I told him I didn’t want to start dating, but he asked for one date, and I agreed. I can’t remember the details of the date, but I remember him driving me back to my dorm after a nice evening. I told him “thank you,” and then I ended the date. I couldn’t ask him up to my room–my roommate was in there sleeping, I was sure, and I thought that gesture would imply something I didn’t want to imply. I could’ve asked him into the lobby, but I guess I didn’t see the point. And he didn’t see the point in continuing a friendship since a friendship wasn’t what he wanted.
I don’t know why I wasn’t interested in a person with whom I always had a good time. I don’t know why I didn’t feel any attraction. It had nothing to do with looks, but he didn’t give me that tingle in my stomach when we were together.
He didn’t cause me to get giddy when I thought about him. He didn’t bring a smile to my face at the mere mention of his name. He didn’t inspire me to stay up until crazy hours of the night because I wanted to hold onto one more minute before we finally said ‘goodnight.’
But one man did.
I can rattle off a hundred reasons why I love this man, but I can’t explain why the attraction grew when it did. Some things are a mystery…
…but perhaps part of the mystery of attraction is that I instinctively knew with whom I wanted to weather my toughest storms. I knew the man with whom I wanted to share my ‘in sickness and in health.’ And I knew the man with whom I would create some gorgeous children.
Or maybe I didn’t.
But someone else looking out for us did.
Regardless of the reason for the attraction, I am thankful. Thankful for the man with whom I have spent nine years. Thankful to Him who guides us and for each additional day together He gives. And thankful that some dates didn’t go past the first.
Linking up with Mama Kat for her Writer’s Workshop.